I am writing a speech and describing two words that are often confused for each other, "religion" and "faith". I have written this line:

Faith and religion are often mistaken to mean the same thing.

I am trying to decide which is the best word to use (shown in italics): mistaken, misconstrued, confused? What is the best word to capture the idea of mistaking the definition?

  • Perhaps misunderstood?
    – Vlammuh
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 21:40
  • 4
    I would say that no word in that category is appropriate, as the definitions of "faith" and "religion" overlap, and there are contexts where they can mean the same thing.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 21:41
  • Does 'mistakenly thought' fit the bill? What IS the difference, I wonder? Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 21:43
  • 3
    As a matter of writing, I'd find the assertion that other people are "confusing" these terms for each other slightly arrogant. There are different distinctions that may be made between the words, but they can also be synonyms. Just use "considered" and then present the distinction you will be using in your speech.
    – herisson
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 22:27
  • 1
    I think you already said it, "Faith and religion are often confused." I disagree when you say that it is the words that are often confused. It is actually the concepts that are confused and so the shorter sentence is more fitting. Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 23:00

1 Answer 1



Definition of CONFLATE

transitive verb


  • a : to bring together* : fuse

  • b : confuse

source: Merriam-Webster.com

*in this case, two disparate concepts, treating the signifying words as synonymous.

  • I think this might be the best grammatically, but I fear I would have to explain what conflate means next.
    – CigarDoug
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 0:23

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